How Mould Affects Human Health in Canada – Poisoning, Toxicology&Environmental Health Example

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"How Mould Affects Human Health in Canada"  is an excellent example of a paper on poisoning, toxicology, and environmental health. Health Canada advises that mold can be the cause of eye, nose and throat irritation, asthmatic symptoms, allergic reactions, coughing, an increase of phlegm, and wheezing and shortness of breath (Health Canada, 2012). In other words, mold can cause serious and severe respiratory ailments (Strina, Barreto, Cooper, & Rodrigues, 2014, 3). This paper will briefly examine how mold affects human health in Canada, putting forward the thesis that the damp conditions that the change of seasons brings are a significant cause of mold in most homes, and that this can be avoided by better building design and construction.

Individuals are advised to ensure that there is proper ventilation in the home, to keep their homes warm and to ensure that air is circulating. As well, individuals are advised that any items that can cause mold should be removed from the home and that the home should be kept clean and dry. The following suggestions were brought forward by Health Canada for householders: that damp surfaces should be dried, refrigerator and air conditioner drip pans should be emptied, and drains should be cleared and have no debris (Health Canada, 2012).

These are often small matters that most homeowners do not frequently consider as day-to-day chores are undertaken. The World Health Organization (WHO), of which Canada is a member, also advises that because there is increased scientific understanding about the effects of moisture as well as dampness, “ … all countries must pay proper attention to how the quality of construction affects these problems” (WHO, 2009, 31).

In that regard, building standards are regulated in Canada in order to minimize the effects of dampness due to weather patterns. Cooper (2004) notes that sometimes mold is caused by poorly designed buildings and/or bad construction (Cooper, 2004, 13-14). In an effort to save costs and reduce expenses, some contractors will cut corners in construction work and some designers will create badly ventilated spaces. In fact, there are often reports of faulty construction being responsible for mold in school buildings (The Globe & Mail, 2014). In a recent example from Alberta, a school was shut down because of problems with mold.

Inspection teams from Alberta Infrastructure had to go into the school to conduct testing. After the initial inspection, there was a specific mold clean up after which another inspection team went in to test the air quality. On the second testing, the clean up was found to be “ effective and all air standards” (The Globe & Mail, 2014) were consistent with Health Canada guidelines. To conclude, molds are a cause of many respiratory ailments in Canada. In order to prevent or mitigate this, building standards are rigorous in terms of design and construction methods.

If despite these regulations, buildings do acquire mold, there are government safeguards in place, e.g. , Alberta Infrastructure, that will undertake inspections, regulate clean up and will re-test again to ensure that proper air quality standards are met.

References

Cooper, S. (2004). The Truth about Mold. Chicago: Dearborn Real Estate Education.

Health Canada. (2012, July 26). Mould and Your Health. Retrieved from Health Canada: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fniah-spnia/promotion/public-publique/home-maison/mould-moisissure-eng.php

Strina, A., Barreto, M., Cooper, P., & Rodrigues, L. (2014). Risk factors for non-atopic asthma/wheeze in children and adolescents: a systematic review. Emerg Themes Epidemiol., Vol. 5(1), 1-11.

The Globe & Mail. (2014, March 15). Central Alberta school reopens after air quality concerns over mould. Retrieved from The Globe & Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/central-alberta-school-reopens-after-air-quality-concerns-over-mould/article17507631/

WHO. (2009). WHO's Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould. Compenhagen: WHO.

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